Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi on Tuesday launched the brand’s first foldable smartphone, the Mi MIX FOLD, packed with top-notch innovative features.
The device pairs a folding screen on the inside with a smaller outer display, similar to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series and Huawei Mate X2.
The large inner screen — claimed by Xiaomi to be the largest among other foldable phones on the market — features an 8.01-inch OLED panel with a resolution of 2480 x 1860 and 4:3 aspect ratio. Additionally, the OLED panel supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision with great color accuracy. There is also a “desktop mode” that turns the interface into a traditional computer-like UI.
The smaller outer screen is a 6.52-inch 2520 x 840 90Hz OLED panel with a 27:9 aspect ratio. According to Xiaomi, the Mi MIX FOLD’s external and internal displays can generate images and videos in super resolution, and are even capable of doubling the resolution of pictures from 720p to 1440p, and videos from 480p to 1440p.
Xiaomi co-founder and CEO Lei Jun said at the launch event that the phone underwent 200,000 bends during reliability testing and up to one million bends in further testing.
The device also contains an upgraded sound system, with four stereo speakers tuned by Harman Kardon that promises a true panoramic surround sound experience.
Powered by the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the 5G phone also packs the largest battery seen in a foldable phone yet, at 5020 mAh. Its 67W fast-charging system can complete a full charge in 37 minutes.
As for its camera setup, the device features a 108-megapixel main camera, 13-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and a self-developed 8-megapixel “liquid lens” that doubles as a 3X optical zoom lens and a macro lens.
Contrary to traditional optical lenses, the brand new liquid lens uses the principle of human eye bionics to form a lens-like structure with a transparent fluid wrapped in film. The curvature of the surface can be changed by a precision motor — just like the lens in the human eye — which allows for 3X optical zoom, up to 30X telephoto, and a minimum focus distance of 3cm.
Another new feature that could perhaps overshadow the phone’s ability to fold is Xiaomi’s own Surge C1 Image Signal Processor, a professional image processing chip which is the result of two years of development and 140 million yuan in R&D investment.
According to Xiaomi, the chip provides exceptionally high performance while occupying low CPU and storage space. This means it can run the 3A algorithms — Auto Focus, Auto Exposure and Auto White Balance — in a power efficient manner while significantly improving image quality.
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Prices for the foldable phone start at 9,999 yuan ($1,521) for a base model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, 10,999 yuan ($1,670) for the 12GB RAM + 512GB model and 12,999 yuan ($1,980) for the 16GB + 512GB — significantly cheaper than the Huawei Mate X2, which retails at 17,999 yuan ($2,786) for the base model.
Pre-orders have begun in China and orders will be shipped on April 16. It is unclear if the smartphone will undergo an international release.
Hong Kong-listed Xiaomi showed robust growth in 2020, generating 245.9 billion yuan ($37 billion) in total revenue, a 19.4% jump year-on-year. The group’s global smartphone shipments reached 146.4 million units, an increase of 17.5% year-on-year.
In a move to diversify beyond just smartphones and consumer electronics, Xiaomi on Tuesday also announced that it will set up a wholly-owned subsidiary to start manufacturing electric cars.
The company will invest an initial ten billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the project, Lei said, adding that total investment over the next ten years will amount to $10 billion.